Actor James Caan dies, who was Santino “Sonny” Corleone in The Godfather

The actor james caanwho is remembered as Santino “Sonny” Corleonethe untimely Vito Corleone’s eldest son in The Godfather, he died at 82 years old.

“It is with great sadness that we report Jimmy’s death on the night of July 6,” his family reported on the actor’s Twitter account.

“The family appreciates the outpouring of love and sincerest condolences and asks that you continue to respect their privacy during this difficult time,” it added.

He almost wasn’t Sonny Corleone

For his role as “Sonny” in the first installment of The Godfather, Caan received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Eternally linked to 1970s Hollywood, many will remember Caan for the dramatic death of his character, Sonny Corleone, riddled with bullets at a Long Island toll booth by Barzini’s men in one of the most famous scenes in The Godfather.

It was this film, in which he shared the screen with Marlon Brando and Al Pacino, that catapulted him to world fame, but curiously he was about to not play that role, since the Paramount studios preferred Carmine Caridi. Luckily for him, Coppola preferred him and ended up prevailing.

From the Bronx to Hollywood

Born in 1940 in the Bronx, New York, of a Jewish family, his father was a butcher, a job that young James did not want to follow.

At Hofstra University he met Francis Ford Coppola and pursued an acting career. She made her Broadway debut in 1961 and in 1965 in Howard Hawks’s El Dorado opposite John Wayne.

Born in the Bronx, James Caan made his characteristic accent and serious, hard face a hallmark that remained in much of his characters.

Among his most memorable performances was the 1971 television movie Brian’s Song, in which he played athlete Brian Piccolo, diagnosed with cancer at the height of his success. Caan’s understated yet dramatic performance led critics to call the film one of the best of the year.

That role convinced Coppola to cast him the following year in The Godfather. Previously, the filmmaker and actor had worked together on The Rian People (1969), but the producers curtailed his on-screen appearance, doubting his suitability for acting.

After convincing the world of his talent for celluloid, came works like Rollerball (1975), A Bridge Too Far (1977) and Thief (1981), about which he himself said that it was the performance he was most proud of. .

Among the roles he turned down are such iconic films as Star Wars and Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

“Jimmy was one of the greatest (…) I will miss him dearly”expressed his manager Matt Del Piano in a statement to AFP.

|| With information from Ursula Medina / El Sol de México ||


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